For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son
that whoever should believe in Him
should have everlasting life.
This one verse summarizes the history of God’s relationship with the world. It tells us something about God, something about Jesus, something about what we are called to, and something about this life.
The first words of this verse direct attention to God. God takes action. Before humans sought God, God was taking action on their behalf. This sets Christianity apart from all other religions. Only in the Christian faith is it God who takes the initiative. Only in Christianity is personal and intimate relationship with God possible because God pursues us.
So Loved The World
The basis of all God does is love. Before the existence of the world, God loved. His love was shown in the perfect community and unity of the Trinity. The Trinity is a mystery hard for humanity to understand: one God, three persons known as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Out of love and to share love, the Godhead created the world and all that is in it.
God intended to walk in perfect love and community with man and woman, the prize of all creation, but evil and sin worked its way between God and mankind. Chaos entered the world and caused a vast separation between God and the people He loved. God could have turned His back and left humanity to its own devices, but He did not. He continued to love. He continued to pursue those He loved so dearly. And He put a plan in place to restore the relationship between Himself and those He loved.
The penalty for the sin that separates us from God is death. The penalty must be satisfied in order to restore the relationship between God and us. But the vast separation between God and humanity cannot be bridged by anything any of us can do. We can never be good enough, loving enough, perfect enough or holy enough to restore the broken relationship. God gave the means for restoring the relationship. God can and has done the one thing that is required to restore the relationship. He gave. He did what we cannot.
His Only Begotten Son
Jesus, the only begotten Son who lived in perfect love, unity and community, left the Godhead. While remaining fully God, he took the form of a man to also be fully human. During His life on earth, He modeled the love of the Father. Even more importantly He did what not one of us could do. He paid the penalty for sin.
Jesus, the beloved Son of the Father, the only man to ever live without sinning, took on the burden of all of humanity’s sin and paid the death penalty by becoming the perfect sacrifice on our behalf. In so doing, for one brief moment, it looked as though evil had won. Jesus was dead. God endured the painful sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, so that the penalty would be paid and we could be restored to relationship with Him. After three days, Jesus was raised from the dead as a show of God’s power and triumph over evil and sin.
Whoever Should Believe
Now God invites us to do one simple act. We are called to believe in Jesus. By putting our faith in the sacrifice of His life that the penalty of our sin might be paid, we are restored into full relationship with God. We no longer carry the burden of our sin. We no longer need to strive through good deeds, religious ritual, karma, or any other human effort. Jesus’ death paid the price of sin and His resurrection invites us to live in relationship with the Father. Through Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, we get the privilege and blessing of experiencing the unity and community of the Godhead in our own lives. We are wrapped in the love of the Father, blanketed by the grace of the Son and cloaked in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Should Have Everlasting Life
This life is not all there is. The penalty Jesus paid on our behalf affects this life and calls us to the next life. We still experience physical death, but for those who choose to believe, death is really birth into eternity with God. For all of time and beyond believers in Christ will exist in perfect union with the Trinity. There will be no more evil and sin, no more suffering and injustice, no more pain and sickness. We will experience joy, peace and love beyond our imaginations.
Where are you today? Have you done the one and only thing that restores your relationship with the Father and guarantees you eternal life? If you have not, I invite you to place your faith in Jesus Christ. Pain and suffering will not be erased in this life, but you will have the love, peace and joy of Jesus to sustain and empower you. And best of all, whatever you experience in this life will be far surpassed by the peace and joy that come with eternal life.